by Carl Strang
Here’s another photo from last summer that was illuminated by information in Darryl T. Gwynne’s book on katydid evolution.
Gwynne pointed out that meadow katydids have broad diets that include both plant and animal foods. Carnivory results in a peculiar hazard for these katydids. Many of them pick up horsehair worms, parasites that wait in immature form within other insects, and complete their development within the katydids, killing them in the process. This can significantly reduce the number of katydids that survive to maturity. It seems to me some of the meadow katydids at Mayslake Forest Preserve have diminished abruptly in numbers at times, and this would seem to be one contributing factor.